How Do Dogs Show Affection? 24 Signs You Can’t Miss

how do dogs show affection

Everybody knows that dogs are man’s best friends! They are adorable, extremely intelligent, and, most importantly, fiercely loyal. As a result, they are one of the most beloved pets, with families all over the world choosing them as their friendly companions.

But have you ever asked yourself if they love you back? And if that’s the case, how do dogs show affection? That’s why today, we’re going to take a closer look and try to understand more about dogs and the way they express themselves.

24 Ways Dogs Show Affection To You

While it’s easy for humans to show affection and love for their dogs, their fluffy companions show love through actions and body language. From their tails to their noses, dogs use their entire bodies to express how they feel and communicate with you.

Unfortunately, sometimes it can be hard to figure out what emotion your loyal friend is trying to express. Even so, there are a couple of telltale signs that you can use to determine when dogs are showing you affection.

1. They Wag Their Tail in Your Presence


Dogs use their tails to communicate a variety of emotions, such as fear, happiness, aggression, or tension. Usually, when a dog’s tail is loose, he feels relaxed and comfortable around you. So, when your dog feels happy, he will wag its tail so hard that it looks like its whole back is wagging. That is an obvious sign that your dog not only loves you but also trusts you and wants to express their affection.

2. They Will Attempt to Lick Your Face

Puppies lick the faces of their mothers in order to tell them that they are starving and require food. But even once they’ve grown up and don’t need to rely on their mothers for food, dogs maintain their licking instinct and often do it to show their affection.

Besides affection, dogs can also groom other dogs in a submissive way or for cleaning purposes. And since dogs groom one another as a gesture of friendliness only when a strong bond is already in place, you can interpret licking as a clear signal of love.

3. They Will Follow You

Dogs, particularly puppies, need to feel secure and safe. That’s why they tend to follow you around wherever you go. In fact, for them, you represent security, which allows them to relax and feel calm near you.

As your dog gets older, this will turn into a sense of love and devotion, since you have been his protector his entire life. So, keep in mind that whenever your dog follows you around, it means that you are his place of wellbeing.

4. They Try to Jump on You

More often than not, jumping on people is considered an unpleasant behavior, and, as a result, most owners teach their dogs not to do it. Yet, some people don’t know that jumping up is a gesture of affection and end up giving their dog conflicting signals when he is trying to jump on them.

Another thing to keep in mind is that puppies lick their mother’s eyes and faces, which is exactly why dogs want to jump and touch you. As a matter of fact, your dog is recognizing you as its parent, and it’s trying to show you how much he cares about you by jumping up.

5. They Sleep Near You

In nature, packs of wolves sleep nestled together, and dogs are no different. Considering that you are part of your dog’s family and they think of you as their best friend, it’s normal that they would want to sleep as close to you as possible. Regardless of your opinion on this kind of behavior, the fact they feel the need to sleep with you is proof of your dog’s love and trust.

6. They Smile at You


Although it may sound weird at first, dogs can and will smile. Actually, if you’ve ever believed that you’ve seen a dog smile, you were probably right. In fact, dogs can mimic basic human facial expressions and use them the same way humans do. So, the next time you see your dog smiling, it may be a signal that he loves you and is happy to spend time with you.

7. They Will Rub Their Face on Yours

If your dog tries to rub his face on yours, he might just want to show his affection towards you. Why is that the case? Because dogs tend to rub their faces on things and people they want to mark as theirs.

But, please note that if your dog tries to rub his face on everything in sight, it might point towards a skin problem that should warrant a vet appointment.

8. They Guard You While You Eat

Just like wolves, dogs are extremely protective, even when there is no threat nearby. As such, most dogs show their love and affection by guarding you while you eat or rest. By doing so, your dog acts as if it belongs to your pack. However, while this behavior could be a sign of loyalty and affection, most vets discourage it as guarding can cause behavioral or overly territorial issues.

9. They Share Their Toys With You

Sometimes, when your dog bonds with you, he will bring you their favorite toy. That is their way of sharing their belongings with you and proving that they trust and care for you.

Similarly, they might offer you dead birds or rodents that they have found or killed recently. While that might seem disgusting, it is your dog’s way of providing for you and trying to please you.

Therefore, you shouldn’t punish him for this behavior; instead, you should praise him for doing a good job. Then, once your dog has left the room, you can either throw the dead animal away or release it if it’s in good enough shape.

It’s important to remember that some wild animals may carry diseases, such as rabies, so make sure to keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.

10. They Cuddle With You

Dogs use snuggling behaviors to become closer to each other. Thus, if your dog wants to snuggle, he is trying to show you that he loves you and wants to bond with you even more. So don’t ever miss an opportunity to curl up on the sofa with your furry companion and spend as much time as you can together.

11. They Will Socialize With You


Dogs are extremely similar to wolves in terms of behavior, meaning that they are social creatures. When you adopt a dog and care for it, you become the pack leader. In other words, you are the most important individual in your dog’s life. As a result, he will look to you for approval, love, companionship, and guidance.

12. They Might Sniff Your Crotch

Even though it might sound annoying and embarrassing, your dog might try to sniff your crotch as a gesture of affection. He does that because that’s how dogs get to know each other in nature, just like we shake hands. Besides the greeting aspect, sniffing your crotch is your dog’s way of learning more about you using your scent.

13. They Will Play a Little Rough With You

All animals love to play, but dogs tend to play a little rougher. But don’t be alarmed, as that’s healthy and an essential part of your dog’s social development. In fact, roughhousing allows your dog to form bonds with his playmate. So try to engage your dog in roughhousing whenever he initiates it.

However, sometimes, roughhousing can go too far, so be sure to teach your dog that biting, swiping, and barking are not acceptable. And most importantly, keep it safe, as you don’t want to hurt your dog or let him hurt you.

14. They Will Protect You While You Are Sick

Dogs have a similar instinct to that of wolves that make them care for their pack. More specifically, wolves usually lick each other’s wounds and protect sick family members. As such, you’ll notice that whenever you are sick or wounded, your dog will watch over you and act like you are a member of his pack. His need to care for you is proof of his devotion and love for you.

15. They Will Attempt to Herd You

Herding breeds of dogs may attempt to herd you when they think that you are straying away from them. That’s their way of showing affection and care for their herd, which you are a member of. You will notice this kind of behavior in dog breeds created to control cattle or sheep, like Australian shepherds and collies.

16. They Recognize Your Name


It’s no mystery that dogs recognize their own names; after all, they typically come when you call them by name. But what might shock you is that dogs can also recognize and remember your own name. Not only that but they will get excited when they hear your name as they will think that you are nearby and ready to play with them.

17. They Can Sense Your Sadness

When you feel sad, you’ll notice that your dog will do its best to spend as much time as possible with you. As a matter of fact, most dogs are in tune with their masters’ emotions and will respond if something doesn’t feel quite right. They will also try to make you feel better by resting their heads on you, snuggling, or licking your face.

18. They Might Lean on You

Having your dog lean on you can sometimes be annoying, especially if you have a bigger dog. Yet, that is your dog’s way of showing his affection as, in his mind, he is just asking for attention and love. When that happens, you should take a couple of minutes to sit down near your dog and pet him. That way, he will know that you also love him and want to make him happy.

19. They Will Roll Over

Dogs only roll over and expose their bellies when they feel like they can trust the person next to them. So, whenever you see that your dog wags its tail and flops over, it means that they trust and love you a lot. It may also mean that he is asking for a few belly rubs, which will only further strengthen the connection between you two.

20. They Will Maintain Eye Contact

Your dog may sometimes stare at you for a couple of minutes, seemingly without explanation. However, some dogs use eye-gazing as a way to bond with you and establish a connection. As a result, you don’t need to be scared if you notice that your dog is maintaining eye contact with you. He might just attempt to form an attachment with you, further proving his affection.

21. They May Nudge You Using Their Nose


Nose-nudging is a gesture of love that many animals, including dogs, tend to do. Not only that, but it’s a quick and reliable way to warn you that you are standing in their way. They might also use nose-nudging to ask for attention and to initiate playtime. You’ll know when your dog does it to express affection if he is also giving you a warm and friendly stare or tries to push for more body contact.

22. They Will Be Loyal

Dogs are known all over the world for their loyalty, which they inherit from their wolf ancestors. Yet, they only do that for members of their families. So, if your dog tries to protect you and always cares for you, then he considers you part of his pack.

23. They May Get Worried Whenever You Lie Down

If your dog cares for you, he will get worried whenever he thinks that you are unresponsive or unconscious. They will try to lick your face and head in an attempt to revive you. Just keep in mind that your dog might do this even when you are asleep, so you may want to make sure that you sleep in separate rooms.

24. They Bring You Broken Toys

Finally, dogs will bring you objects they want you to fix, such as broken toys. That is their way of proving their faith in you and showing that they completely trust you. And, by fixing their toys, you will further strengthen the bond between you and them.

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